Google Fighting Gag Order on Surveillance Data

Company wants secret FISA court to let it disclose more details
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2013 3:30 PM CDT
Google wants more leeway on what it can disclose about government surveillance.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

(Newser) – Google is going to court to try to bring more transparency to the government's surveillance program—and maybe to beef up its public image on privacy along the way. The company will file a petition with the top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court demanding that it be allowed to provide more information to the public about what it hands over to the feds, reports the Washington Post. The company will argue that the gag order now in effect violates its First Amendment rights.

Even if the gag order is lifted, however, don't expect to learn much more than is already known about the NSA's PRISM program, writes Craig Timberg. But "a high-profile legal showdown may help Google’s efforts to portray itself as aggressively resisting government surveillance," he adds. (Yahoo today became the latest company to disclose more details about the information it has turned over, but the company said it could only go so far because of the government rules in effect.)

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